Answers to Go with Susan Smith

Q. I’d like to build a tiny studio for my granddaughter. I know she’d enjoy having a space of her own and she does have room in her backyard. I’ll be visiting her on Christmas. I thought I’d wrap a tiny house book and put it under her tree as a surprise. Can you suggest a good title?

A. Books on tiny house living are quite popular now, so we have a good selection. Since this generous grandpa wanted a permanent building, I passed over Lloyd Kahn’s tempting “Tiny Homes on the Move: Wheels and Water.”

I think David & Jeanie Stiles’ “Building Small: Sustainable Designs for Tiny Houses & Backyard Buildings” is a good choice. It has seven basic designs with both tempting photographs as well as construction diagrams.

The authors offer this description of their book:  “‘Building Small’ is your key to joining the tiny house revolution with designs for homes as well as a range of backyard buildings including workspaces and sheds.

“There’s tons of practical how-to construction advice including best practices, common pitfalls and tips for the do-it-yourself carpenter.”

The authors include complete plans for seven tiny houses and strategies for outfitting tiny houses with lighting, water, heating and bathrooms. There are ideas for floor lay-out and interior design with the emphasis on space-saving solutions.

They also describe their own tiny house epiphany:  “We always dreamed of a weekend retreat no more than fifty miles from our New York City apartment. As luck would have it, our car overheated and we serendipitously met a local woman raking leaves. She had bought and built on land nearby, and gave us the name of her source –a terrific woman who was selling off parcels of her estate.

“We were able to buy 25 acres of land very reasonably. We used it as a source of pleasure… while we imagined and sketched ideas for our weekend house. There’s nothing like camping out on a piece of property to discover where the sun rises and falls.

“We spent many happy hours designing our futuristic dream house before we suddenly realized all we needed was a cabin.

“We didn’t want the expense, hassle and responsibility of a full-size dwelling. We wanted a tiny house to escape from the city, to enjoy nature and a simpler life.”

San Marcos Daily Record

(512) 392-2458
P.O. Box 1109, San Marcos, TX 78666